Take a voyage of contrasts you embark on this 16-day Bangkok and Bhutan journey. You will have the opportunity to experience the bright lights of Thailand’s bustling, modern capital, as well as explore the most rural areas of old world Bhutan. This exciting adventure begins in Bangkok and travels onto Bhutan, with stops in Paro, Bumthang, Gangtey, Punakha and Thimphu. With hiking, rafting and lots of sights to see, there won’t be a dull moment for your entire adventure.
Arrive in Thailand’s buzzing capital of Bangkok. Begin your adventure with a tour of the fabulous Grand Palace. Next, check out Wat Arun (The Temple of the Dawn) and continue onto Wat Po - where you will find the sprawling reclining Buddha. Continue on to the fresh and fragrant flower market where the brightly-hued florals create a picture-perfect setting. We suggest staying in the Mandarin Oriental, the Peninsula Bangkok or the Siam Hotel for an out-of-this-world luxury stay.
Start the day by breaking a sweat during your own private lesson in the country’s famous sport of Muay Thai. After getting cleaned up, see the inner workings of the city with a canal tour. A ride on a longtail boat is essential for an authentic Thai experience. Finish the day with a visit to the Jim Thompson House to see a building, where the city’s silk trade began.
Depart beautiful Thailand for the more remote location of Bhutan. Fly into Paro very early on your fourth morning. This gives you plenty of time to explore the city. Visit the ancient fortresses of Rinpung Dzong and Drukgyel Dzong. Next, continue on to visit the Kyichu Lhakhang, an incredible ancient Buddhist Temple. Check in to either the Zhiwa Ling Resort, the Amankora or the Uma by Como for a comfortable, luxurious stay.
Make the most of your time in Paro with an early start. The Kila Nunnery is a special spot, located on the side of a cliff. Next, learn about the area’s culture and history at the National Museum. Enjoy a stop at a local farmhouse before returning to your hotel to relax for the evening.
Fly from Paro to the sacred city of Bumthang. You will find a high concentration of revered spots here. Visit the Yathra Center in Chume, the Kyichu Lhakhang Temple - home to the oldest monastery in Bhutan, and the Swiss Farm. The farm makes its own cheese using Jersey cow milk, as well as making the country’s national beer - Red Panda. Stay at either luxurious option of the Amankora or Yugharling Resort.
Rise early to make the short trip to the famous Tang Valley. Farmhouses, fields and dense forests paint the countryside, creating a breathtaking sight. Visit Mebartso, the “Burning Lake.” You have the rare opportunity to see a monastic school housing nuns from ages 12 to 70 at the Pemacholing Nunnery. Stroll through Ura Village and spot sheep and yak being herded along the countryside. Return to your hotel in the evening.
Spend a third day in Bumthang to ensure you don’t miss any of the amazing sites. Start the day off with a trip to the 16th-century palace converted into a museum - Ugyencholing. Enjoy a fresh-air lunch with a stunning view of the valley outside the palace. See historic artifacts in the galleries and learn about Bhutan’s unique monarchy.
Travel to the postcard-perfect town of Gangtey, set in the middle of the Phobjikha Valley. The wetlands are home to the rare black-necked cranes. Explore the ancient Gangtey Monastery with an intricately-carved gate and unrivaled valley views. We suggest staying at the Amankora or the Gangtey Goenpa Lodge. The two hotels are both of the highest quality, offering unforgettable views of the mountain vistas.
Travel to the ancient capital of Bhutan - Punakha. The area is full of fascinating historic sites. The island fortress of Punakha Dzong is a must-see. The Chimi Lhakhank is an exotic 15th-century temple said to bless visitors with fertility. We suggest staying at either luxurious option of the Amankora or Uma Punakha for a good night’s sleep.
Travel to Thimphu via flight through Paro. Drive to Thimphu and enjoy a scenic ride along the way. Visit the Royal Textile Academy to learn about traditional Bhutanese handiwork. Next, visit the National Library which houses many rare manuscripts. Come evening time, stay in either the Amankora or the Taj Tashi - these are the two finest hotels in the area.
Considered Bhutan’s cultural heart, strike out into Thimphu to see what the country has to offer. Begin with a visit to the Folk Heritage Museum. Here you can enjoy a delicious and filling authentic lunch. Pay the paper mill a visit, where you can see the creative ways the resource is recycled. In the evening, visit the Buddha Dordenma, where you will find a 149-foot bronze Buddha.
Return to Paro to visit more of the city’s sites. Take a hike up to the beautiful Taktsang Palphug Monastery, more commonly known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. The monastery is home to several sacred paintings and religious relics. Explore the area’s temples and return to the main town to check in to either recommended option of the Uma Paro and the Amankora.